The duplicitous politics of ‘Religious Sentiments’ and its implications

Whenever the religious sentiments of Hindus are hurt, there is a legitimate demand from them for action against the concerned people. Then the Hindus themselves are given doses of preaching under the name of ‘freedom of expression’. However, not a single person from the gang of so-called progressives is prepared to talk today against the anti-Hindu campaign of ‘Sarr tan se juda’ (Decapitation). Here is an article that sheds light on this anti-Hindu duplicity.
Prof. Shankar Sharan

1. The big problem is the duplicity of secular leaders and intellectuals about the freedom of expression

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor recently wrote, ‘We have come to such a situation that no matter what is said in favour of any religion, someone claims that his religious sentiments have been hurt’. There was an uproar when Trinamool Congress leader and MP, Mahua Moitra, passed insulting remarks on Goddess Kali. On this, Shashi Tharoor said, ‘Such things should be taken lightly because there is no intention of hurting sentiments’. Tharoor is absolutely correct. Most leaders and intellectuals like Tharoor remain silent unless statements or actions related to Islam provoke outrage among Muslims. At such times, their duplicity about the right to freedom of expression is evident. This is the big problem. All the problems arise due to such duplicity. People get more upset over the duplicity of the Government and intellectuals or thinkers than over their feelings getting hurt, because what is said about freedom of expression in favour of Mahua Moitra is not applied in Nupur Sharma’s case. Sharma just responded to the criticism of the Hindu Deity Shiva; however, Mahua has ‘casually’ made a remark against the Goddess.

2. In the entire world, only Hindus are tolerant about criticism and slander of their own Dharma

In fact, this problem of duplicity has existed in India for the past 100 years. It is a historical fact that all over the world, it is the Hindus who are most tolerant about criticism and slander of their Dharma. Christian preachers have been openly criticising Hindu Dharma, Deities, customs, traditions, etc. for centuries. Not only this, these Christian preachers have gone to the extent of standing in Hindu temples and denouncing Hindu Dharma and Gods as weak and superstitious. They criticise through literature and speech. Yet no average Hindu, scholar or priest wants to pay attention to this. This is how harshly the Islamic Tablighis have been behaving towards Hinduism. They criticise Hindus and Buddhists, calling them ‘kafirs’ (Infidels) and ‘abhorrent idolaters’. They misrepresent the Hindu Deities as well as Hindu customs, traditions, festivals and celebrations. Muslims are strictly asked to stay away from these things, and are forbidden any relationship with Hindus about their living conditions, diet, attire, customs, traditions, family relations, etc. Behind this fanaticism is the emphasis that only Islam is superior and other religions are inferior. Like the Christian preachers, Islamic Tablighis have been criticising Deities such as Shriram, Shrikrushna, Durga, Saraswati and great Hindu personalities.

3. Mohandas Gandhi drove a respected Hindu publisher to the verge of death to appease Muslims

A. Muslims who criticise Hindu places of faith through a book and Rajpal who published a book in a befitting reply : What has happened with Nupur Sharma has been happening in India for a 100 years. In 1920, 2 books were published by Muslims in Lahore. These contained offensive writings on Shrikrushna and Maharshi Dayanand. One was titled, ‘Krishna Teri Gita Jalani Padegi !’ and the other was titled ‘Bisavi Sadi Ka Maharshi !’ The language in both was abusive. These books contained hateful remarks on Hindu Dharma. In reply, a scholar of Arya Samaj wrote the book ‘Rangila Rasool’ which contained the real account of Prophet Muhammad’s life. The author did not want his name to be published. But the anti-Hindu books had to be given a fitting reply. He then told this story to the renowned publisher Rajpal (whose sons today own the publishing houses ‘Rajpal & Sons’ and ‘Hind Pocket Books’). Then the book was published with the words ‘Dudh Ka Dudh Aur Pani Ka Pani’ printed in place of the author’s name.

B. Attacks on Rajpal by the religious fanatics for publishing the book and his survival : As soon as this book was published, the religious fanatics got agitated. They urged Rajpal to reveal the name of the author, and Rajpal was threatened if he did not listen to them; however, Rajpal did not break his promise to the author. So in 1926, Rajpal was attacked by a fanatic named Khudabaksh. Coincidentally, at the same time Swami Swatantryananda, an Ascetic of the Arya Samaj, was passing by. He saved Rajpal. Khudabaksh was caught and jailed for 7 years. Rajpal recovered after being hospitalised for 3 months. After some time, Swami Satyananda happened to be sitting in Rajpal’s shop when a religious fanatic mistook him him for Rajpal and attacked him. He was also caught and imprisoned. Swami Satyananda recovered after 2 months in the hospital.

C. After Mohandas Gandhi’s criticism of Rajpal, Muslims killed Rajpal : At that time, Mohandas Gandhi wrote a very provocative article against Rajpal in ‘Young India’ newspaper, saying that ‘a common bookseller criticised the Prophet of Islam for a pittance. So he should be confronted’.

Gandhi’s language was so bad that many prominent leaders of the country, including Ambedkar and Swatantryaveer Savarkar, also criticised it. They disliked Gandhi’s smearing of a highly respected figure like Rajpal and taking sides to provoke the Muslims. New fatwas followed against Rajpal, including a provocative speech by Gandhi’s friend Maulana Muhammad Ali from Delhi’s Jama Masjid. As a result, on 6th April 1929, Rajpal was attacked for the third time in his shop by a fanatic named Ilamdin, and Rajpal died. An estimated 1,00,000 people took out a peace march in Lahore, and all dignitaries paid tributes to Rajpal. The first biography of Rajpal was written by his friend Abdul Rahim.

4. Bigoted Muslims who think it is their right to carry out inappropriate acts in relation to other people’s religions

Actually, history is being repeated and has in fact worsened. Recently, after the murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur (Rajasthan), a video was made and circulated. This is the next level of depravity. Poor Kanhiaya Lal had said nothing about the Prophet. He had only supported Nupur Sharma. Yet some fanatics felt that it was their right to take his life. No thought was given to the law of the land, as it was not even a 100 years ago. This is something to think about. The religious fanatics feel it is their right to act against other people’s religion and Deities. Some years ago, Akbaruddin Owaisi criticised Prabhu Shriram and Mata Kausalya in a public meeting. His speech was widely circulated. Against an offensive remark made about Shrikrushna in Bengaluru, against which a Hindu protested. This Hindu was also attacked fatally.
A. Islamic ideology that considers it the right of Muslims to destroy the views of another religion : Repeating what is written about the Prophet in Islamic texts also leads to violence and riots. More seriously, Islamic ideology also considers it the right to destroy the views of another religion. There is no doubt that Islam permits the destruction of ‘false Gods’ and the places where they are worshipped. It also permits destroying of such places

5. If a Hindu makes a statement to protect Dharma, the religious fanatics get upset and resort to violence

Another problem is – even if a Hindu does something or makes a statement to defend his own Dharma, the religious fanatics get upset. Even in ordinary historical contexts, violence and confusion are invoked as an ‘insult’ for highlighting a completely honest opinion about the Islamic doctrine and its Prophet. Then, our political leaders and intellectuals either remain silent, or like Gandhi, side with the Muslims and start criticising Hindus. They do not hesitate to even disregard the law and the Constitution. In other words, the Muslims get provoked more due to these acts.

6. The entire credit goes to the Hindu community and its traditions for maintaining harmony among the various religions and communities in India

When talking with Muslims, most will agree that respect between different communities can only be based on equality and mutual help. If one religion routinely insults another and its Deities, by calling them liars, worthless, weak, etc., then they have no right to demand respect for their religion from others. It would be unfair to demand so. If they become agitated or violent for this, it would be inappropriate.
Advice on equality is possible only in India. Various religions and communities have been living peacefully in India, and its entire credit must go to the Hindu community, whose traditions have the support of Dharma. This is why Jews, Parsis, Christians, Muslims are easily given their place and respect in India. This is the truth, and only by accepting the generosity of Hindus can there be true dialogue.

7. Political leaders and media bigwigs politicising instead of taking an principled stand

In India, campaigns go on continuously to blame the Hindu community on every occasion by negating the truth. This is a abominable aberration. So is the case with riots and debates, etc. If some organised and horrific violence takes place against Hindus, efforts are made to suppress the matter. This has happened countless times from Kashmir to Gujarat and from Assam to Kerala.

The identity of the killers is also concealed. On the contrary, if Hindus become aggressive in response to the violence of the bigots, an endless propaganda and lamentation of ‘Hindu fascism’, ‘intolerance’, ‘persecution of minorities’ starts all over the world. In this propaganda, all enlightenment and real knowledge are trampled upon.

This is a double and triple injury inflicted on the Hindus. Today, because of the widespread nature of information technology, every such incident, statement or action is instantly considered by millions of people as factual. Recurring of such injuries cause grief to, anger and resentment in Hindus. This is further intensified by reactions of the political parties when they see who is the victimised in every instance. Unfortunately, instead of taking an honest stand on this, our leaders and media bigwigs continue to serve their own interests. Their supporters also start arguing among themselves. As a result, this partisanship destroys the opportunity to speak about equal parameters of community relationship or to easily accept any criticism of religion and belief. This partisanship also increases communal hatred and suspicion.

8. Various political parties, social organisations and propaganda campaigns spread false narratives about injustice to Muslims

Any matter can be easily resolved if one goes beyond partisanship and looks at the whole matter with level-headedness. The generosity of Hindus, especially in India, has been historically acknowledged throughout the world. Various Christian and Muslim leaders, local as well as foreign, have accepted this truth from time to time. They understand that Muslims get a lot of opportunities for peace, convenience, freedom and advancement in India, which they do not get in other countries. Anyone can easily check out this fact.

But what is happening here is completely the opposite. Various political parties, domestic and foreign organisations and propaganda machinery with vested interests continue to spread lies about Muslims being discriminated against and injustice meted out to them. Hence, millions of ignorant Muslims are filled with erroneous sentiments especially regarding religious matters.

In India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Hindus are constantly being hurt and humiliated. Two-faced political parties and media are propagating such false reports and videos about injustice to Muslims.

9. Continuation of the earlier appeasement by political parties who gained Hindu votes on the issue of appeasement and came to power

Hindus are treated as inferior in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Their temples, families and properties are regularly attacked. Even in India, Hindus are deprived of rights that Christians and Muslims enjoy in two basic areas of life – education and the administration of their religious places. Thus here too, Hindus have been made second-class citizens. Such a plight of the Hindus did not exist even during the British rule.

The political parties and organisations that gained Hindu votes by raising the issue of ‘Muslim harassment’, continued the appeasement after coming to power. Taking for granted that Hindus are in their pockets, they are now going beyond appeasement and talking of ‘satisfying’ the minorities. As one foreign observer noted, ‘Hindus are political orphans !’ This was not the case even during the British rule.

10. Duplicitous treatment of Hindus by the rulers and media is harmful for the country

This is a fresh example of the same predicament, of criticising another in defence of self-righteousness; therefore, Nupur Sharma was punished immediately without any investigation and hearing. This strongly conveys the message that it is the education and right of others to speak maliciously about Hindu Dharma, Deities, traditions in India.

Similarly, special political grants and new institutions are being established for such education and dissemination. Conversely, no Hindu can call another sect oppressive and superstitious even if there is factual evidence. There are calls for immediate death, and Police and judicial actions begin against the Hindus. People who support such Hindus are fatally attacked and others are threatened. In this whole process, gross duplicity of the State and media is visible. Such incidents and tendencies are harmful for the country.

11. Human conscience and equality should be the basis of deliberation

Indian leaders and media bigwigs should try to make simple and uniform norms about religious criticism. Efforts should be made to find solutions to historical and current questions related to religious sentiments. The insistence on granting privileges to someone and the thought of perpetrating violence to achieve it should be immediately rejected. Instead of double standards, common morality and conscience should be made the foundation. Adoption of a policy of exchange by one side so as to maintain peace at all costs only encourages violent tendencies in the other side. All kinds of privileges should be rejected. This is how Europe and USA were able to progress in the past centuries. They rejected the influence and dogma of the Church and made human conscience and equality the basis of deliberation. Only then could they develop science, technology and Democracy.

The right of one community to accept, reject or criticise any belief, leader, Prophet, practice, law, etc., is given to all communities. This may be one remedy; it is also the way to reach close to the truth and human progress. These aspects can be understood by common people. They are hindered only by ideological insistence, political selfishness and pressure. These obstacles should be removed.

Only then, as Shashi Tharoor feels, ‘Every individual will have the right to decide his own relationship with religion. This right should apply to all religions’.

– Prof. Shankar Sharan, New Delhi.(Courtesy : Monthly ‘Pratham Impact’. Prof. Sharan is a Professor of Political Science at the NCERT, New Delhi)

No one from the gang of progressives is prepared to talk against the anti-Hindu campaign of ‘Sarr tan se juda’ !

Muslims get a lot of opportunities for freedom and advancement in India, which they do not get in other countries !

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